The New York Islanders, who last season had their worst record since 1973-74, may be rebuilding, but they looked good in their season-opener against the Kings, coming from behind to win, 5-4 in overtime, Saturday night before 12,039 fans at the Forum.
Bryan Trottier scored the game-winning goal on a blast from the left face-off circle off a rink-long pass from right wing Mike Bossy just 48 seconds into the five-minute overtime period. King goalie Darren Eliot tried to make a glove save, but only partially blocked the puck, and it deflected into the net.
"I just got off a good shot. I know the goalie got a piece of it, but it carried into the net," Trottier said. "It was a nice way to win because the Kings battled back."
It was the Islanders' first win in a season-opener since 1981, when they beat the Kings, 4-1, at the Forum. The Islanders are 4-6-4 in season-opening games in their 14-year history.
Right wing Jim Fox scored three goals to lead the Kings. It was the first hat trick of his six-year National Hockey League career.
Fox tied the game at 4-4 when he scored his third goal with 32 seconds left in the third period after the Kings had pulled goalie Eliot for an extra skater. Defenseman Craig Redmond and center Bernie Nicholls assisted on the play.
"Bernie made a good pass out to Red (Redmond), and he had everyone coming toward him. Red made a very nice play when he gave it to me," Fox said. "I was pretty happy to get the hat trick at the time, but it would have been nicer if we had won."
The Kings are 1-8-1 in their last 10 games against the Islanders.
"We had a letdown in the third period, but overall I'm very pleased with the victory, especially since it was in overtime," Islander Coach Al Arbour said. "We had a lot of trouble in overtime last season."
The Islanders had a 4-11-10 overtime record coming into the game. Last season, they were 1-8-6 in overtime games.
The Kings, who lost their season-opener to Vancouver Thursday night, are 0-2 for the season and have played poorly in the second periods of both games. They led Vancouver, 2-1, early in the second period Thursday night but gave up five straight goals in the second and third periods and lost, 6-5.
They led the Islanders, 2-0, early in the second period Saturday after goals by defenseman Garry Galley and Fox, but they gave up three consecutive second-period goals. First, Bossy scored on a power play at 5:22; then, Pat LaFontaine got an unassisted goal at 10:29 when he took the puck away from Galley in front of the net, and finally, rookie right wing Mikko Makela of Finland scored his first NHL goal at 18:21.
"We have had four good periods and two bad periods, and the two bad periods cost us games," King Coach Pat Quinn said. "We have been outright dreadful in the second periods. We lose concentration and make stupid plays with the puck."
The Kings have also had problems on the power play. They were scoreless in seven power plays against Vancouver Thursday night and were held without a goal in five power plays against the Islanders.
"We're still in a solo mood on the power play," Quinn said. "We have too many individuals who are going to use their own skills to score."
Trailing, 3-2, after the Islanders' big second period, the Kings tied it at 3-3 when Fox scored his second goal of the game 1 minute 13 seconds into the third period.
Nicholls set up Fox's goal when he took the puck away from Islander defenseman Tomas Jonsson and skated down the left side toward the goal. Nicholls waited until the last possible moment to give the puck to Fox, who beat Islander goalie Kelly Hrudey.
But rookie left wing Dale Henry scored an unassisted goal at 3:18 of the third period to give the Islanders a 4-3 lead. Henry's shot was deflected into the net off the stick of King rookie center Dave Gans, who was trying to make a stick check on Henry in front of the net.
Wing Phil Sykes had a couple of good chances to score for the Kings with 13 minutes left, but Hrudey made nice saves on both of Sykes' shots.
King defenseman Jay Wells and Henry each got five minutes for fighting with 7:48 left in the game. King left wing Brian MacLellan and Trottier each received two minutes for roughing.
Islander rookie left wing Bob Bassen suffered a bruised left knee when he was checked into the boards by King defenseman Dean Kennedy early in the first period. Bassen missed the rest of the game.